The ‘greatest commandment’ given by Christ in the Gospel was to love God and love thy neighbor as thyself. The commandment is threefold, even trinitarian: love for self, for the other, and for God. Christ, Holy Spirit, Father. Identity, community, transcendence. This triple aim leads the Christian into rough waters because, due to the limits of his nature, being fallen, these aims seem to come into conflict and appear mutually exclusive. When in doubt, it is always the love for God which must act as the standard, and this gives the outward impression that the self or the other is being degraded, and that love is withheld. It is even possible to imagine situations where an expression of sympathy toward my neighbor would amount to a betrayal of love for God. This is not due to incoherence in the commandment so much as it is a result of divergence between my will (or my neighbor’s will) and the will of God. When the will of God and the will of my neighbor are at odds, my relationship with my neighbor remains subordinate. If ever I am called to turn a blind eye to acts that offend God and destroy his creative work, whether out of ‘sympathy’ or distorted ‘love’ or humanitarian ‘compassion’, then it is time to withhold support from my neighbor.
In short, love is measured by the standard of the divine, and to promote or condone that which departs from that standard does not qualify as love. Those who do not measure love by the standard of God cannot understand why, for the love of God, we might allow or even cause the suffering of our fellow man. They will never understand why a moral ‘no’ is in the service of the person so rejected, and they will never understand that an indulgent ‘yes’ could mean hateful indifference to what really matters.
For those who measure love by the arbitrary standard of the world, any expression of ‘negative love’ will be reframed as an act of hate, and this is why anyone today who makes a public stand on a moral issue is immediately accused of hate speech or something similar.
In its early form, this all-accepting all-compassionate anti-spiritual love manifests itself as indifference. To modern progressives, the highest form of love is to be indifferent to the rightness or wrongness of acts, so long as they are pleasing to the one acting. To love someone is not to want the best for them, but to want them to do whatever they please, no matter if it degrades the soul. In such a world, nothing less than complete indifference to the spiritual health of others can be permitted. And again, that is only the bare minimum—what is really expected and, in the long run, what comes to be demanded, is approval. We see this every day, as it becomes more clear that it is not enough to simply withhold our criticism and accept evil in our midst. We must approve. If you are not willing to openly express approval, you have implicitly admitted to your bigotry. First acceptance, then approval. But approval is not the final stage.